Give me an FOMC, BOE, BOJ and SNB -Breaking
The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to announce its second consecutive half point rate increase in order to control inflation.
Britain and Sweden will probably raise their interest rates once more, while Switzerland could be ready to join rate-hike clubs. However, Bank of Japan needs to confirm that its ultra-dovish stance is not changing.
Below is a preview of the week ahead, including commentary from Ira Iosebashvili (New York), Kevin Buckland (Tokyo), Sujata Ro, Julien Ponthus, and Dhara Ranasinghe (London).
1 GO BIG
The battle against inflation is now. It’s time for the Federal Reserve to either get big or to retreat. The Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates Wednesday by 50 basis points (bps), in addition to 75 bps already implemented since March.
The Fed’s ability to suppress the most severe inflation for decades while not causing a slump in the U.S. will be scrutinized.
Good news for the jobs market. Wednesday’s retail sales data could reveal how customers are faring as rising borrowing costs. For May, analysts expect retail sales to increase by 0.2% per month. One retailer plans to reduce its margin outlook.
Be sure to watch out for Fed projections regarding rate movements in the “dot plot”. Expectedly aggressive projections for rate hikes in the “dot plot” could put pressure on U.S. Treasuries with yields of 3% or more.
2. NO. DON’T GO.
The Bank of Japan is likely to stick with its massive stimulus weapons on Friday. In fact, Governor Haruhikokuroda recently repeatedly committed to an extremely easy monetary policy.
But pressure to change tack is growing. The G-10 is the lone dove. This means we have to fight against rising yields worldwide. Japan’s 10-year bond yield regularly exceeds the BOJ tolerance limit of 25 bps above 0%.
Pinning it there is costly and one casualty is the yen. Currency has reached multi-decade lows due to widening yield disparities.
Japan’s imported energy has become expensive, crunching consumers and businesses at a sensitive time as crucial upper house elections loom this summer. Kuroda suggested that households are becoming less tolerant of higher prices. This forced Kuroda to apologize.
3. CRUEL SUMMER
Inflation of near-10%, the most severe cost-of living squeeze in decades, and planned labor strikes are all factors that could lead to a season of discontent for Britain. The OECD forecasts no growth in the next year. This is the worst performance of any G20 economy – except Russia.
The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates on June 16th, for the fifth consecutive time since December. On Monday and Tuesday, GDP and employment figures will also be due. Recall that Q1 unemployment was at its lowest level in 48 years, with 3.7%. However, inflation adjusted, wages were down by 2% from year-earlier levels. This was the largest fall in pay since 2013.
Boris Johnson is continuing to push forward with his “fiscal firepower”, pledges, and plans for amending a Northern Ireland trade protocol. While the first could lead to inflation, the second will most likely increase tensions with Europe.
4/ INFLATION BUGS
Inflation has struck Switzerland. Prices rose by almost 140% in May in Switzerland. The days of low rates could be gone.
At its Thursday meeting, the Swiss National Bank might not change its -0.75% rate of interest – which is one of the lowest in the world – but it could. Some rate-setters are being persuaded by price pressures, and the possibility of the ECB raising rates in July, to alter their dovish stance.
Inflation has been somewhat dampened by the Franc’s strength and the SNB is easing down on Franc sales. It may still join the rate-hike club, after having seen such dovish peers like Sweden’s Riksbank do policy U-turns.
The Riksbank raised rates in April and may increase them again Friday. There is a possibility of 50 basis points.
France’s first-round parliamentary election will take place on Sunday. It will determine whether President Emmanuel Macron, a newly elected president, will be able implement his pro-business platform.
Since his victory on April 24 against Marine Le Pen (58%), much has changed. Opinion polls have shifted away from the expectation of Macron’s Ensemble (Together), majority alliance, to the possibility that there could be a hung parliament.
Unified Left opposition that promises lower retirement age of 60 years and to limit prices for essential goods has gained momentum. Macron would have to expand his alliance if he fails to win an absolute majority.
As an alliance grows, so does the complexity of deal-making and the influence on policy decisions. As investors consider the price paid to acquire French assets, some political risk could be introduced.